Friday, December 30, 2011

NOT THE SCENE THIS WINTER


Posted by PicasaThis was the MT. Hood  National forest early last winter, it is not the same this year. My son took this photo last year around this very time. I would imagine the ski resorts are hurting right now.


Today here in Eugene we had a deluge. Not a good day to go shopping with my gift cards but alas I put on my rain gear and went for it. My jeans go wet and head was plastered even though I tried to remember to put my hood up on my rain jacket as every time the hatch door of the SUV went up the rain dripped down on me. By the time I was through with the fun shopping and then the grocery shopping I was more than ready to come to my warm cozy house and put on a pot tea.
I read in the paper this morning we broke a record Wednesday for rainfall. From the time we woke in the early morning hours it pounded on our roof and streamed down the streets without stop. 


Tomorrow night we celebrate the new year in at my sis-in-laws house just down the street. No driving just walking a very short distance that should be doable.
I bought an array of goodies to make up and take down. Sounds as if the food will just be simple buffet fare. There is to be fireworks at midnight. Can it please rain? I am no fan of fireworks. Why the men folk in this family get such a charge from this disgusting noisy smelly event is beyond me. Once a year on the 4th of July is enough for anyone to endure as far as I am concerned.  


We will be watching the OREGON DUCKS play in the Rose Bowl game this coming Monday. Hubby is so so excited he is like a little boy. I still need to figure out what kind of snacks I want to serve for munching on during the game. I am not a snack person as I really do not care for snacks. Well maybe gourmet appetizers of some sort would be nice occasionally. But in my mind snacks are just needless eating as you always still eat a meal later regardless. So I do have a problem coming up with idea's as I am not interested. I would rather wait until after the game and have a nice meal. Oh well that is me and certainty not the view of my husband, so snacks it is.


I had planned on sitting for a while in my comfy chair and starting a new book this afternoon but when I went to the basket where I keep my books yet to read it was empty. Empty? I thought I still had one book to read. So now what? I am current on magazines and no new books to read what will I do in my down time this weekend? Makes me left wanting. I just finished one of the best books I have ever read from one of my fave writers Anita Sherve. It is called, Strange Fits of Passion. It was a page turner for me but on a different level. I did not want to turn the page to fast as her prose is astonishing. Every nuance of the character is brought forward until you are so involved with the character it is hard to let go of them as you turn the final page.
So a no book weekend awaits me. Well maybe I will actually accomplish something and I must look at it as a good thing.


I will close now. I do feel still a little weary from all the Christmas festivities. Maybe a nap before dinner prep?  We are having Parmesan crusted baked pork chops with chunky apple sauce, sauteed squash and rice pilaf. There is still a tiny bit of cheese cake and raspberry sauce for desert. Dinner sounds easy I like that.
I will write again next year.







Wednesday, December 28, 2011

CHRISTMAS EVE AND DAY



Posted by PicasaThe top photo is Christmas day sunrise taken early Christmas morning from our front door.
The second photo was taken Christmas Eve from the back deck.
Both were amazing and put a ache in my heart just from the beauty of it all.
What a glorious gift from nature on a very special holiday.


I have to admit I am a little weary today. For us it has been five days of celebration. Family, friends, food, drink, gifts, holiday spirit and much busyness. My daughter Gina and her man Doug just left a little while ago headed for the coast for a two day stay at the Casino there. Hopefully when they head back to their home in Vancouver their pockets will be full of money!


Santa and family treated me so well. Many lovely and useful gifts and a gift card. I love a gift card, as I can take my time shopping and looking for bargains. It may take me several shopping trips to find what I like or think I need.
Also one of the gifts that Gina and Doug gave us was a gift card to one of our favorite restaurants here in Eugene. We are looking forward to our evening out and enjoying good food. So I have gifts that will keep giving at least for a couple of weeks.


Having both of my children here for the Christmas holiday was wonderful for us. Though they were like ships passing in the night. My son left Monday morning and my daughter arrived that afternoon. But still it warmed my heart that they both made the effort to drive here and spend part of their holiday with us. My son's friend and coworker Randy who had no where to go came with my son and was happy to be here with us. He enjoyed the Christmas meal and he was congenial company to have we are happy he could join us.


Today we have the back door open. It started raining in the night the hard rain pelting the roof woke me several times. It still is raining. We have the door open I love listening to the patter on the deck. I am amazed as to how mild it is outdoors. It is so refreshing to get some clean air into the house. After days of being sequestered under foggy skies the rain sky certainly seems lighter and less foreboding. 


Now next week we will move forward into a new year. What will 2012 bring for family and friends and our own lives? Good news and blessings I hope.
I always try to stay optimistic and put out good thoughts for what I want to unfold in my own life. I am not exactly sure how all things work but I do know a open happy heart and good thoughts can add much to a persons daily life and just perhaps bring good to you in all ways.


On those thoughts I will close for the day and recuperate.
Till next time.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

HOLIDAY MOMENTS


Posted by PicasaHere are some of my favorite photo's as they fill my heart with home.
I do so love my special little traditions from years past. The tablecloth on the table is one that I made years ago when the children were small. They have coordinating napkins homemade as well and are also on the Thanksgiving here this year. 


The apple pie is a standard in this household I have usesd the same recipe for years. Why change something if it works?


Of course fires to me means cozy. We love to have a fire outdoors in winter when the weather allows. In fact two days ago we sat on the deck and cuddled near the fire and talked and planned as the gray day broke to blue sky and  temperatures   dropped. Unfortunately  we do not have natural gas in our home to have a fireplace indoors but Gina and Doug bought us our little electric stove last year for Christmas so now we have ambiance  in the family room. We love it.


The old piano just keeps getting older every year as I do. So many years we have enjoyed together. As I sat yesterday playing Christmas music my eyes filled with tears and my heart was so full. My friend, my piano.


The tree of course is a different size and shape each year. But what adorns it varies little. The same balls, doves, crystal ornaments. The last items to go on are my Mom's sparkly rhinestone jewelry. I snap the earings on to the branches, hang the bracelets and necklaces from the limbs by the white lights for lots of glitter. So in respect and love for my wonderful Mothers we hold her close and share memories as we hang her jewelry.


Today I feel meloncoly as I repeat rituals. The last of the baking though I did not do that much this year. Today I will make a pear/rum upside cake to be served with whipped cream after our Christmas meal. You make this desert in an iron skillet. The batter is buttery and tender the pears give it a tart sweet taste with the rum and brown sugar. I also need to make mixed berry sauce for our little Trader Joe's New York style cheesecake. These are good little cheese cakes. We will have that for our desert tonight.
A simple quiche tonight with fresh steamed asparagus and a bottle of prosecco. We love our Christmas Eve's we have always made them special for the two of us. We will exchange our little gifts. Mine to hubby are beautifully wrapped his to me in a bag with tissue lol.


Tomorrow morning my son arrives and with him is a friend and co-worker who had no Christmas plans so my son invited him to our home. The day will be filled with food, drinks, laughter and a new friend.


Well I must get on to baking the upside down cake and do my last minute cleaning. The walk still awaits me. Today is a mild day with some blue and gray sky adrift in the clouds. 


Have a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas day.
From our home to yours Holiday Greetings.



Monday, December 19, 2011

Kowloon Restaurant Review Eugene Oregon

We just returned from the Kowloon restaurant here in Eugene. We had lunch there we had not before even though the place has been here in this city forever it seems. 
Well I suppose if I were grading on a one to ten scale I would give Kowloon a 6.
The service was good though our server forget we had ordered drinks as we had to ask for them when the food came. But we were given big smiles and prompt polite service.
As far as the food is concerned, it compares with other typical Chinese food in the city, nothing special or noteworthy.
I ordered a combination lunch of fried rice and chicken chow mien. The fried rice had good flavors and was respectable the chow mien was just OK. I like the fact the veggies were hand sliced though they were rather large thick pieces. The mushrooms in the dish were dark and past their freshness. Besides I do not particularly care for mushrooms in Chinese food. The chicken was tender and tasty. The noodles were good and of course as at any Chinese restaurant there was an abundance of food.
We ordered a little side of BBQ pork. There was a lot for the small price but it was stringy and rather tough and there again the pieces were cut big and thick.
Hubby had Mongolian beef. He liked it fine but he was not humming.
So I must say there were no major mistakes but nothing memorable either.
The atmosphere is so so. A fifties, flat ceiling affair but clean and open.
So will we go back? Probably not as there are to many other places to try.
However their bar called "The City" could be fun with friends if you were so inclined to play a game of pool and have a brew.

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM OUR HOUSE TO YOURS


Posted by PicasaOh, Christmas Tree, oh Christmas tree.........
well our tree is quite amazing this year. I was actually the one who spotted it and knew with hubby's skills to trim it up it would be perfect. 
It took several hours on Saturday before we were done decorating it. We placed it in the corner of the living room and I have a perfect view of it from the kitchen while I cook :)


I was going to go shopping today to finish everything up but have decided to wait until tomorrow. I thought my husband would be starting a job today. However he just called from the job site and the other workers were not finished as promised. So now he will do that job after the first of the year. Oh well.....I just thought it would be nice to have the week to myself to get ready for the Christmas weekend.


I must say the fog enclosed days have gotten to me a bit. Everyday we wait for the fog to burn off and it has not. We may hold out more hope today as already it does seem a little brighter than usual.
When the fog is low you feel as if you are being pressed down literally. It is hard to keep yourself motivated when you cannot see the sun.
There is no way I could live in area's such as England for example with the constant gray skies. Show me some blue sky and sun and I will show you a happy woman!


I am sending out about six Christmas cards this year. All others will be via the e-mail. I feel sending cards through the regular mail is a thing of the past and it saddens me. To get a card in the mail with a thoughtful personal note and signed by the sender is a treasure. I keep the cards and make Christmas gift tags and book markers out of them. Everything changes that is for sure.


I just read in the paper recently that it is being considered to do away with cursive writing. What? Folks will not know how to sign their name other than to print. Reason being of course is the computer age, who needs to write a thing when you can type. Well what would happen  if that whole technical  system failed, never to return again for whatever reason? I just do not see where this all is going truthfully.  I suppose I am getting to old and set in my ways. My Grandmother used to say, she lived in the best times , well to me her life was so terribly difficult. I think I lived in the best times, maybe that is the way it is. I am sure my grand kids think I grew up in the olden days. I really knew my Grandmother. We were very close and shared much. I knew all about her life. I asked questions and listened to what she told me. I was interested. I looked forward to her visits. She loved having me come visit her as it was our special time without others involved. We also kept in touch by letter writing all through the years.  I will always be grateful for that relationship I had with her. When she passed I was a young Mother. She loved my two little ones and I was so happy that she had met them before she left us.
Her death hurt me deeply as she was the first person that I had lost that was so dear to me. I was heartbroken and mourned her for a long time. Now I know that is not good to do but at the time I just could not pull myself out of the sadness of it all as I missed her so. Now days I feel most grandchildren especially when they get older are not that interested in their grandparents  lives. It is sad as they could learn so much if they just took the time to break away from their electronic devices and have conversations with those they love.
So I do remember my Grandmother with much love and respect especially at Christmas time as she shared many a holiday with us in our home.


Well on those sweet memories I will close and get on with my daily chores and the last bit of decorating for the holidays.
Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

MT. HOOD IN ALL IT'S GLORY


Posted by PicasaThis would make an amazing Christmas card. In fact on FB this will be my card for all that I connect with there.  My son took this photo last year on a snowmobiling trip, I think it is grand. 


I have had a heart filling day today. First thing this morning I attended to the house chores and was out the door early. I went shopping for a few things for my husband for Christmas and then on to various stores for needed things for the holidays as well as grocery shopping. I am so glad that 
the bulk of my grocery shopping is done. Now all I need to do next week is get my spiral ham and last needed fresh ingredients for our Christmas festivities.


When I returned home hubby was waiting to unload all my goodies for me. I was starved as I had not eaten a thing before going shopping. So I put the freezer items in my already stuffed freezer(I need to address this issue). Then I had a lunch of leftovers, my fave, finally with tummy fortified I put away the rest of the groceries and hid the gifts away in the spare room.


I recall one Christmastime when my children were about four and six. We had our baby sitter come for the evening as we had a Christmas party to attend. I told the sitter what you ever you do, do not let the kids into our room as their presents were stashed in our closet.
Well it seems my little ones kept at the sitter saying that they knew that there presents in our bedroom closet and they would be so so good if she would let them see. Well what girl would not want two sweet well beahved little kids to watch for the evening? So she showed them everything.
On Christmas morning when the kids opened their gifts, I noticed they were overly excited and grateful saying over and over how they wanted this and that. They were not just not their usual themselves. Then my daughter said, I can't wait to open my dolly with the blonde hair and blue dress! Hello. 
Well what can you say at that point. My children and I have always remembered that particular Christmas more than others because of their sneakiness and mischief and trying to act so surprised.  After that happened I was very inventive where I hid presents and they never found them again. 


Later in this afternoon I worked on a jig saw puzzle while hubby watched a movie. I wanted it finished and off the dining table as I need to decorate the table tomorrow for Christmas. There was this huge sunset sky to finish it was hard. But I persevered and finished it while chatting to my brother on the phone for an hour. We had a gay old time chatting, we can talk for hours about nothing and everything. I love that guy so much, my brother.


I get somewhat sentimental this time of year as many do. I do so miss my parents and brother and niece that are no longer with us here on earth. They all played such important roles in my life. As I listen to Christmas music now on Pandora while I type this I will hear a song and that brings back such pure and joyful memories of past Christmas's. Sometimes the songs about break my heart but it is OK. Those times can never return but we can savor those memories in our hearts forever, they are a part of us. Last night before going to sleep I was remembering how special my Mom made our home and lives at Christmas time.
My childhood memories of Christmas are this. A tree freshly cut from our own property lit up with  blue lights, and silver balls and  lots of tinsel. Each little strand put on individuality. I could not imagine that now. The house always smelled of something wonderful with aroma's of cinnamon and cloves. A ham studded with cloves and pineapple rings baked in the oven for hours. A table set with Mom's green dishware which I have now and use for the occasion. My grandmother and many aunts and uncles and cousins coming for the holiday.
My grandmother and I would play Christmas carols at the piano and sometimes we would play a duet. Her feet a tapping and mine a dangling off the piano bench. My Dad and uncles and all their story telling went on for hours as they tried to outdo one another with their wild tales. My mind and heart are flooded with such sweet memories. I only hope I have set those same warm feelings within my own children to hold tight to and reflect upon.


Well the daylight is fading to twilight and I must start thinking about tonight's meal. 
Tomorrow we go for the tree and our house will be in the Christmas spirit before the weekend commences. 
Have a thoughtful evening and do not forget to be grateful even for the smallest things as some do not even have a warm place to sleep or food to eat.
Just be thankful for what you have in life.
Blessings.











Sunday, December 11, 2011

DRIFTWOOD SHORES FLORENCE OREGON PHOTOS FROM THE DECK OF OUR ROOM


Posted by PicasaA great view from the deck of our room. Taken on the 7th and 8th of December 2011. This beach is quiet and so wonderful for walking a long distance in either direction from the hotel.
We so enjoyed.

PHOTO'S OF OUR BEACH TRIP


Posted by PicasaFor some reason my collage of these beach scenes did not come up with my last blog. So I will add this now.
Computers sometimes you do the same things but yet the same results do not happen.
Bye.

DRIFTWOOD SHORES FLORENCE OREGON

I wrote the following the second morning of our little getaway while sipping my coffee at the table and gazing at the ocean as  my husband took his morning walk.


As I sit here this morning in our room at Driftwood Shores resort the waves make their soft crescendo onto shore. I am thoughtful at this moment reminded of the many times hubby and I make the trek from Eugene to Florence.
The beach is quiet this time of year in December 15 days before Christmas. There has hardly been a foot print in the sand since our arrival. There was a rouge dog this morning with no owner in sight chasing sand pipers through the gentle surf and a bi- plane flew low over the ocean very early this morning under  wispy pink clouds as we watched from our bed.
The sun is now edging it's way around and over the building so the waves have turned from cloud kissed to crisp white.
It is a soft sea this morning and it makes me feel dreamy and reflective.
Yesterday afternoon hubby found a perfect sand dollar it was sitting on it's edge deep in the wet gray sand, he barely spotted it. We will add it to our growing collection.
Last night as we walked on the beach in front of our hotel our room was the only one with a light burning. It seemed like a beacon from a lighthouse guiding our way back.
I am anxious for this day to unfold it will be like opening a book ready for the adventure that awaits.


So we are back home now and longing to still be there sitting the balcony listening to the gentle roar of ocean and the squawks of the sea birds and crows.
You can see by the photo's that the sunsets were astounding. The weather was clear and crisp with barely a hint of wind. Strolling the beach was invigorating as all was so fresh and bright. The sun warmed our backs as we walked south along the surf line of the beach and it felt like spring. Every once in a while a larger wave would sneak in and we would dash out of it's reach running and laughing.
My jeans were a tad long so each day I had soggy bottoms lol.


We ate easy fare. First day lunch at the Beachcomber Pub and Grill which I have already blogged about. Then later that afternoon we had bay shrimp cocktails. I made the cocktail sauce before leaving home. For dinner that night we popped a Safeway 5 cheese fresh pizza into the oven after topping it with Italian salami bits, onions, garlic, peppers and extra asiago cheese. It came out with a crispy crust and lots of gooey cheese in each mouthful.
The next morning I made hubby a simple breakfast. Then we snacked during the day on candied smoked salmon on crackers, olives, cheese etc. I had made a sausage potato chowder before leaving home. So that was our dinner with a loaf of crunchy crust Italian bread from Safeway that I heated in the oven. We ate at twilight while watching the tide slowly make it's way in. Ahhhh peace.


So I gather by now you know we adore going to the beach as we call it. We extended the last trip we just could not go home after two nights. The weather was to perfect and to know there was still fog in Eugene made it very appealing to linger another night.
We are already formulating plans for another trip after the first part of the year. The sea it calls to us. 
Till later.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

BEACHCOMBER PUB AND GRILL FLORENCE OREGON

This is a review of the clam chowder at the Beachcomber Pub and Grill in Florence Oregon.
This is best chowder bar-none in Florence. I make a similar chowder so I may be biased. But this is the kind of chowder hubby and I love.
A bowl of their steaming chowder will get your cold toes a tingling I promise.
This is a chowder rich with cream  and just thick enough. The main ingredient clams is the star which is the way it should be. But how many times have you been served a thin and tasteless clam chowder and say, where are the clams? As I scooped out the last bite with my spoon all that was in my spoon was clams. Yum!
If you like  buttery, creamy, perfectly seasoned clam chowder that does not disappoint go stick your toes under a table at the Beachcomber Pub and Grill and order their chowder. For such a small pleasure it fills body and soul.

We have just returned from Florence. My next blog will have beach and sunset photo's and other chatter regarding our little getaway.
Later.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

BLUE CHEESE BACON SALAD WITH GARLIC TOAST


Posted by PicasaWe were very hungry for salad so the other night we made up this tasty number. 
Romaine lettuce, radish, onion and tomatoes slices with my blue cheese dressing and topped with crispy fried bacon bits and home made garlic parmesan croutons. We were very satisfied and it is nice sometimes to just have a salad for dinner even in the winter.


Well today I am getting us ready to go to the beach. We are staying right on the beach (no earthquake or tsunami please). We love this room as it has a large kitchen and we know what cooking items are missing in this kitchen so we take our own along. We are on the top floor so the view is amazing, the bed comfy and a nice little deck. The room fits our needs.
The weather is to be sunny, yes, sun, sun and more sun. We have been in a the thick cold fog here for days now. Sometimes at the end of the day the fog will roll off to reveal deep blue skies and sun. but this event happening at the end of the day cheats us. So we are more than ready to head out of the fog bog.


I have much to do today. I am making up in advance a thick potato cheese and sausage chowder to take along. We will have that with a hot loaf of crispy Italian bread with garlic butter. I like chowder at the beach and it does not need to be clam chowder. However we are going to have clam chowder at our fave bar and grill in Florence, the Beachcomber. The chowder is thick and rich loaded with delicate clam bits and creamy potatoes onions and celery. A good sprinkle of black pepper and Tabasco over the top and heaven awaits. 


I must now get on with my chores. I have already been grocery shopping I was at the store at eight-thirty this morning. No one was about except for few early birds like myself. I like that. I am not one for shopping as I have mentioned a zillion times before and certainly am not one for crowds and waiting in line. I have no patience. I am working on that but still I have not conquered patience.


Have a nice day and I certainly hope you are not fogged in. Not fun .
Ciao

Sunday, December 4, 2011

GERMAN DINNER


Posted by PicasaI made this dish primarily for my husband. He so loves German food I do not make it that often but this turned out rich tasting and the pork was so tender.
I actually just used pork steaks and I converted two recipes and then added some of my thoughts. The result a nice mixture of flavors with that bit of a tang that German food is known for.
So I call the recipe.
GERMAN STYLE PORK CHOPS IN TANGY ONION SAUCE
with fried cabbage, potatoes and carrots.


Ingredients:
2 large pork steaks fat trimmed
1/2 large onion sliced
1/2 can beef broth heated
1/3 can beer
flour for dredging pork steaks
salt, pepper
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar


Three potatoes sliced medium and boiled
Three carrots peeled and sliced fairly thin and boiled with the potatoes
1/2 small head green cabbage shredded
Butter and olive oil to cover bottom of the skillet for frying the cabbage.


This is what I did.
After trimming visible fat from pork chops or steaks, salt and pepper them and dredge in flour.
Add some canola oil to a heavy skillet(cast iron preferably) brown meat on both sides till brown. Add the onion slices and mix in around the pork saute until onions are slightly brown then pour in the heated beef broth and beer. Cover the pan and cook about fifteen to twenty minutes until the pork is tender.
Meantime put your sliced potatoes and carrots in a pot and cover with water. Cook on medium until fork tender, no longer.
Fry the cabbage in the butter and olive combination in a skillet. When the potatoes and carrots are done drain thoroughly (put back on the burner if needed to dry out) then add to the cabbage. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the pork to a serving bowl and cover with foil. In a small bowl add the vinegar, Dijon mustard, brown sugar and cornstarch and mix well. Add to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend well. Add the pork back in till heated.
To serve put a serving of pork on your plate along with the cabbage mixture. Ladle some gravy over all. So tasty served with a sour dill pickle. It is a nice wintertime meal.


It is yet another fogged in cold day here in Eugene. My niece Laura from Phoenix  commented on FB that is was so pretty there. Sunny and snow in the surrounding mountains she said. I must say that sounded grand to me.
I love the valley but sometimes this fog in winter gets to us all here.
I did walk but I cannot say it was enjoyable. I was scurrying the whole way as the wind made my ears feel bone cold( should have had my stocking cap on) but I was happy I had the hood on my Columbia jacket.  I almost purred when I stepped inside my cozy warm house.


I made cream cheese brownies this afternoon. hubby likes these brownies. They are rich as I use left over coffee instead of water. They have a cream cheese and sugar mixture held together with egg that is spread over the top and then cut in with a knife. Some of the cream cheese oozes down into the brownies but most stays on top. Yumo!
Then I also made croutons for our romaine salad tonight that I am serving up with my Mom's blue cheese dressing recipe.
I like to make my own croutons as the ones you buy in the store always taste rancid to me. You do not know how long they have been sitting on your grocers shelf.
All I do is save my crusts and end pieces of bread in the fridge. When i have enough for a baking sheet full of croutons I make a batch up.
I cut them small making sure all are the same approximate size. Then I toss them in a bowl with some olive oil drizzled over and the sprinkle on whatever we are in the mood for. Today I used Parmesan cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper and Italian seasonings. Put in a 350 over for about fifteen minutes. That's it! I store them in a zip lock bag and they will last for a week or so.
To go with our salad tonight I am making a family favorite. A casserole recipe that my niece gave me  years ago.
Now mind you it is a tuna casserole recipe which I would otherwise not be to interested in. I have tasted so many awful ones, I am sure we all have.
This is good because it is very creamy it has fresh mushrooms, cheddar cheese, sour cream, scallions. Well you get the idea. Anyhow hubby loves it with a drizzle of Tabacso on the top. So a nice little comfort food dinner tonight.


Well this blog is long winded already. Time to quit. 
I believe we are going to play some cards before I start dinner.
We love playing gin rummy. We are very competitive so it is fun as we are well matched and play with entirely different strategies.
I want to win! Well I always like to win, maybe too much sometimes.


Monday tomorrow but it is still Sunday now. So enjoy your evening.















Saturday, December 3, 2011

THE OLDEN DAYS


Posted by PicasaThis is where I grew up on the farm on 60 plus acres forty five miles northwest of Portland. What you see in the background beyond the driveway is the Columbia River. The group assembled here front row from left to right is my aunt Lila, the little girl in the suspenders is me, then my uncle Albert sitting. Back row left is my handsome father and beautiful mother, my aunt Alieen and uncle Roy, cousin Patty and the little boy is my cousin Joey. The car is my uncle Roy's. 
I am sure this photo was taken on a Sunday as that is the day family would drive out from Portland to visit. My Dad had four brothers with families that all lived in the Portland area. So there was always company at our farm on the weekends it seemed.


My Mother would cook non-stop for the family. She loved doing so. She was a grand homemaker, cook and hostess. No wonder everyone would come weekend after weekend. 
I so remember my uncles talking and reminiscing, laughing and telling jokes on one another. My cousins and I would be outdoors and the simple sounds of meal preparation and the chatter emanating from the house through the open windows made me feel secure in my life with my adoring family around me.


The strange thing about that old farm is this. All that lived there which included myself, parents, and two brothers, one uncle and aunt and later my older brother with his wife and three children cannot recall fonder times in their lives than those spent at that farm. We all hold such treasures in our hearts for those years lived there.
We were fortunate that an area, a special piece of land and extended family touched each and every one of us in such a meaningful way. For myself I feel so thankful for my years spent there while I was growing and learning about life.


Back to reality. We won our Pac 12 championship game last. We knew we were going to win but UCLA played a very good game. So now we are Rose Bowl bound. The winner today of the Michigan St. and Wisconsin game will determine who we play there. We are proud of our football team here in Eugene Oregon.


As is my usual behavior  I was so hungry by the time we ate I did not take a photo of the yummy sloppy joe. Well it was just a sloppy joe after all, no matter.
Tonight I am making my version of german pork chops in the skillet. I will make a side of fried green cabbage, carrots and sliced potatoes. Very easy to make and appropriate for a chilly evening.


It is another really cold morning here again in the southern Willamette Valley.
It is still foggy out which holds that icy cold in. I am waiting for the sky to break and sun to begin warming all up. I will then walk. I hate waiting as my back tends to get achy in later afternoon. But I do not like cold and therefore do not walk if I know the sun is coming.
When I lived all those years in Central Oregon.....33 actually anyhow a long time. I suppose I did quite well with the cold as I was younger. But when we moved to the valley I knew I was where I needed to be. I grew up in western Oregon and am content to be here once again.
Life is just harder in snow country. All the years of driving home from work in the black of winters night on frozen and icy roads with hands gripping the wheel was certainly stressful. When the temp's dropped to below freezing  it seems the house was always a little chilly. I would have comfy chair to snuggle up in near our heat source which was usually a wood stove or fireplace that would supplement the electric heat. I am still a fan for feeling warm and cozy. I always have a blanket near by. Even now when the last dish is put away and my chores are done for the day I plop on the sofa and reach for my blankie.


Well I do have a few to-do's today before hubby gets home from work so best get at them and hopefully the sun will peep through the fog so I can walk.
Have a lovely weekend whatever it is you are doing.



Friday, December 2, 2011

OUR LITTLE FRIEND


Posted by PicasaThis little guy loves sitting on our deck railing munching away on his peanuts. I was watching him while doing dishes at the kitchen window. First of all he was running around the hot tub digging in the leaves on the deck trying to find a burying spot for his nut but he did not like that idea I guess because then he jumped into my big herb barrel but he did not bury it there either. Then he went into another planter box and dug and dug but did not bury his nut. Then I see him sitting on the deck railing  just munching away on his treasure. I guess he thought.....why not? Better now than later. Anyhow it was fun to watch his antic's.


Today we will be watching the OREGON Ducks play in their Pac 12 championship. They will be playing UCLA. We are expected to win by many points. I surely hope so as we will be off to the Rose Bowl if this is our win tonight.


I have sloppy Joe's in the slow cooker as I write. I love this simple little recipe but it is very tasty with a hit of heat.
I am using smaller sized burger buns I will butter and toast them in the skillet I always have to have a toasted warm bun. We like to sprinkle chopped onions on top the Joe. I made sweet dill pickles yesterday so they will be added to the plate and hubby will have tator tots. I do not like tot's so may have a few low salt Lay's chips. I like using the slow cooker on game days. It is so handy as all stays warm and you can dish up whenever you want, just once or many times.


Here is the recipe. I will take a photo of the finished product before it goes in my mouth. Hope I remember as I am feeling hungry already.


SLOW COOKER SLIPPY JOE'S
3 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
1 and 1/2 cups ketchup
1 cup chopped red or green bell pepper or a combo of both
5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
2 teaspoons chili powder
Black pepper to taste
Your favorite buns


Brown ground beef, onion and peppers in skillet.
Drain excess fat.
Combine ketchup, bell pepper, Worcestershire suace, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard and chili powder in bowl, mix and pour into the slow cooker. Add brown beef mixture and mix well. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. 
Spoon onto buns. Add additional chopped onions, or scallions, or sliced pickled jalenpeno's or whatever you prefer. Don't forget your slow cooker liners as there is no mess that way.
This is easy and tasty and what could be better for game day?


I have not walked as yet and you know today my back is giving me trouble. So I may not make it out the door. I have arthritis in my middle back region. My thinking is it was caused from having radiation treatment to that area as well as the rest of my body when I was in my 30's. My doctor had told me at the time that I may develop arthritis along my spine in my later years. Well it did arrive about ten years ago. So oh, yeah!
When the weather is cold and damp like it was this morning I truly suffer more with it. I take nothing for it and do not dwell on the fact that it is there. If I plop in my comfy chair for breaks during the late afternoon I revive and am good to go for a while longer. It is what it is, as they say.


Well I must do a few other things before game time.
Till later and GO DUCKS!!!!!





Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TURKEY POT PIE


Posted by PicasaLeft over turkey finds a home in a buttery crust with veggies and turkey gravy. Hubby just loves this pot pie. I still have turkey left enough for a small casserole of turkey cheesy enchiladas so will put the turkey in the freezer at this point and will have those enchiladas to look forward to in a couple of weeks. A good thing about turkey it just keeps on giving.
Here is how I make my pot pie.


Square pot pie.
Ingredients:
One single pie crust homemade or Pillsbury  
Approximately 2 cups left over cubed turkey
1 cup of frozen mixed veggies
1 can of sliced potatoes drained
1/2 onion sliced thin and sauteed in butter
2 cups leftover turkey gravy or two packets of turkey gravy mixed with two cups water
4 scallions sliced thin include the green parts
Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste


Use a 9x9 square or 9x9 round casserole dish. Butter the bottom and sides.
In a skillet add a dollop of butter and saute the onion slices, when translucent add the frozen mixed veggies(hubby just likes the peas, corn and carrot mix) saute for a few minutes longer. Then put in the casserole dish add the potato slices on top, then sprinkle with approximately a teaspoon of Italian dressing and salt and pepper. Then add the gravy and sprinkle the scallions on top of the gravy. Roll the crust to accommodate the casserole dish and lay over the top and crimp the edges. Prick the crust top with a fork a few times.
Place in 425 oven and bake for 25 minutes or until crust is golden. Remove from oven and let sit for ten minutes before serving.


Note. I do want to say the canned potatoes are easy and taste fine if you do not want to slice and boil potatoes or if you do not have left over potatoes to use. 
I made up this recipe when we had our motor coach as I wanted to make pot pie with just simple ingredients and with little effort in a small kitchen. It has become a family favorite with left over turkey or chicken. However I have boiled up frozen boneless chicken thighs and then chopped them up, they are amazing in the pie.


Foggy here this AM. Also it is chilly. I am hoping that the fog will lift and we will enjoy some sun and blue skies this afternoon. I do so want to take a long walk for some fresh air and exercise. Sometimes it is hard to step out the door but once I get walking and breathing in the fresh air and feeling the chill on my face it exhilarates me. I find I have more energy when I return home and I feel good mentally because I made the effort.


I am looking forward to today. I caught up on many needed chores yesterday so today other than the daily to-do's I am free to do some extra things I have been wanting to do.
I think I mentioned my messy overfilled linen closet some time back. That issue still has not been addressed. 
There is much in there that can go to the the thrift store. I am looking forward to this project really. It is good to take things to St. Vincent De Paul. They do a lot for our community. Items that have just been sitting idle in my linen closet will have a new lease on life and someone will appreciate them. My linen closet it huge so other than linens I have appliances, and large cooking items that do not fit in my kitchen cupboards. I keep my gift wrapping in there and lots of other goodies. So that is my project for the day and I will drop the items off tomorrow when I am out and about.


My husband is working long hours this week on a large floor refinishing project for a client he does a lot of work for. It is good to have the jobs come to us this time of year.


My niece Sarah brought me a little gift yesterday. She had spent the Thanksgiving holiday with her friend in Santa Rosa. So Sarah brought me a neat candle cork for a wine bottle she had purchased in the Napa Valley. Just stick into a empty (pretty) wine bottle and lite it and the wax drips down the sides of the bottle.  I will save it and use if for Christmas eve when hubby and I celebrate our Christmas eve alone together. We always make it special with gourmet food and a nice bottle of Oregon pinot noir, some favorite music and simple gifts. 
I remember one Christmas eve when we were living in Central Oregon in our house of glass as I called it the windows went from the floor high into the vaulted ceilings. The table was set and appropriately festive the snowflakes falling outside were huge and the ground covered quickly. The fire, the music, the coziness of the whole scene just touched our hearts. We had our dinner and opened our gifts and then bundled up and took a long walk about midnight. The snow had stopped but the ground was covered white with sparkling diamonds and the sky had cleared. The moon was a bright wedge and crystal stars hung in the black sky. It was magical. I will always remember that Christmas eve. 


Well with those lovely thoughts still floating around in my head I will leave you for the day.

Monday, November 28, 2011

CONTENTMENT


Posted by PicasaAs day fades to night and light rain dampens the streets the fireplace glows orange accompanied by soft lazy jazz.
The lamps omit a buttery glow and the rich warm spices of the Thanksgiving candles fill the house with the promise of Christmas.
All is mellow and I am so content to be here, right now at this moment.


I hope you have a private moment of your own this holiday season that brings gratitude for all that gives you pleasure in your life.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

RUM CAKE, APPLE PIE AND THE THANKSGIVING TABLE AWAITS.


Posted by PicasaIt has been so long since I blogged. It has been a busy past week or so.
 The holiday was so nice. My son Mike and my grandson Tyson arrived about nine-thirty Thanksgiving morning. They were only here for overnight so we wanted as much time to spend together as possible. 
After everyone got settled and the excited voices quieted somewhat I made hot buttered rums for us all. I made the low fat mix I love (not!) Let's see.......ice cream, brown sugar, butter and powdered sugar. A Fat Fix for sure. But who is counting right? I only had one with one small teaspoon of mix so I guess I was.
I put out a spread on the bar to wet appetites and keep the men content while I prepared in the kitchen. My son said, this like a meal Mom, I guess it was a lot but we never want anyone to go hungry at our house. Food is love you know.
So while they grazed at the bar I worked on our main meal.


This was our menu this year.
Roasted turkey with a rub of warm earthy spices and stuffed with fresh rosemary, lemon slices and unpeeled granny smith apple wedges
Smashed potatoes with garlic, sour cream and butter salt and pepper.
Sausage, apple, walnut cornbread stuffing.
Turkey gravy
Sauteed brussel sprouts with crispy bacon bits, shallots and toasted walnut pieces.
Cranberry orange relish
A relish tray with pickles, green uncured olives and black olives and my homemade pickled peppers and veggies.
Sweet potatoes with butter and cinnamon nutmeg sprinkle
Butterfly dinner rolls with creamery butter


Desert. Mom's apple pie with my homemade crust. Rum cake (hubby's fave) both served with Umpqua vanilla bean ice cream.






There are two things that I like and dislike about Thanksgiving dinner if you are doing a turkey. The first thing is good. If you get a lot of prep work and things made up ahead you need only do the last minute things on Thanksgiving day and once the turkey goes into the oven it leaves several hours of bliss. Just puttering and peeling potatoes, doing the veggies and the relish plate. So it gives you plenty of time to enjoy your guests.
The part I dislike is when the turkey is pulled from the oven and is resting, the buns then are popped into the oven to bake or brown and gravy making proceeds and the last minute dishing up into the pretty serving dishes for the table, all this while craving the turkey. A lot of multi- tasking and believe me if anyone is talking to me while I am attending to all the above who knows what will make it to the table? One year I left the relish plate and the cranberry/apple salad in the fridge. We never missed it and I never noticed it until I went to put things away after the meal. So it is best my guests stay out of the kitchen and let me proceed alone. I would ask hubby to crave the turkey but I do a much better job  :)
We finally relax once we are seated at the table, then hold hands and say our thank you's. Then of course we dish up way more than we should. Then complain and moan later as our tummies hurt.


I find cleaning up after a turkey dinner a nightmare. Even if there is not one dish in the sink when we sit down to dinner once the items start coming off the table it is chaos. There are pots and pans to be washed, then there are the serving dishes to be washed because I put all items into plastic wear after they come off the table. So the bottom line is the counters are filled with a huge mess.
Everyone pitched in and cleared the table for me and put away what they could. Hubby took all the meat off the carcus and stored the remainder in a big plastic bowl with snap lid. Mike wanted the carcus to go home with him. He was going to boil it down for the scraps of meat that still clung to the bones and make turkey broth with meat bits for his dog. So there was no waste. I sent some things home with Mike and Tyson and we will finish the rest off in a couple of days.


I realized after our guests left the next morning that I did not take one photo on Thanksgiving day. No pictures of my son and grandson or hubby. Also  Mr. Turkey we took from the oven all browned and perfect in every way did not have his picture taken either. I suppose I was so caught up in the moment I did not think.  Those photos that never happened can never be repeated. That makes me very sad indeed.


Well right now I am feeling tired. I went for a long walk today in the cold air under deep blue skies with little whisps of feathery clouds. I talked to my brother as I walked. It was an exhilerating walk this morning but my energy was down so it took effort. But I am glad that I followed through with my daily exercise.


Now it is time to lounge in my comfy chair and polish off a book that I have very much enjoyed. It is a light and entertainng read. I like a book that is not too weighty sometimes.


Till later.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A FAVE PHOTO


Posted by PicasaI love this photo. Hubby and I are visiting friends and having a jolly ol time.
My husband no longer has his mustache. I always thought he was very handsome with it. Well he is still that way without it!


I am back from my running this morning. Seems all I have been doing of late is shopping and I do not like it one bit.
I needed a cell phone. So today was the day for that. It is always a process and takes time. Then I was off for a few staples at one store then on to buy a armload of new to me books. Tomorrow I will be out and about once more. The weekly grocery shopping and banking. Then the rest of the week home sweet home,  ah yes!


I made chicken veggie soup again last night. We had that about three weeks ago but the pantry and freezer were lacking so did what I could with what I had. This afternoon I will be putting the menu together for the next seven or so days. I think tomorrow night I am going to make for us a flat iron steak seared in a black iron skillet. I will put my usual steak rub on and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. Then into the oiled hot skillet and let it do it's thing, bakers and fresh asparagus will round out the meal. Asparagus is a deal now at least this week.
I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and all the planning and prep. That is the most alluring part for me. I always do get the biggest thrill out of the planning and anticipation more than the actual event. How silly but it is the way I am. There will be no surprises for my holiday meal. If I changed things up I think some folks would be disappointed that their usual favorites are not on the table. The only thing I change up every year is the brussel sprouts.  Some years I roast them whole with seasonings and olive oil and butter. Other years I slice or halve them and saute them in a skillet with either lemon and  garlic. Or sometimes the same method with bacon, shallots and walnut pieces. There are many variations and all are tasty. When I was a girl at home I do not recall brussel sprouts it seems to me we usually had green beans that my Mother had put up in summer. Seems we may have had fresh yellow squash of some type. I do know our table was piled high with food and all seemed very festive. She also would wear her holiday adorned aprons that she made herself throughout the holiday season. 
My Mother was a wonderful seamstress. She made all my clothing from the time I came into her life until I was in my teens however at that point I did not want home fashioned clothing. You understand. I have so many amazing memories of my Mother and when I start to write of one or two my mind is filled with a abundance of memories of that sweet precious Mom of mine. I was a lucky girl and so loved.


Well if I am going to get a walk out of the way today it best be taken quickly as my back is starting it's edgy nag again. I may have waited to late today. I am thinking it may be time to just relax my back in my little red plaid chair and start a new book. It will be about three hours before hubby comes through the door. I also want to call my son on my new cell phone. Hope it works!


Till next time have a lovely fall Tuesday.